After the votes were tallied on October 18th, graduate workers at Illinois State University (ISU) celebrated the formation of their new union and their new unified voice. The margin of victory was nearly 5-to-1 in favor, and they are now the newest members of SEIU Local 73.
Years of state budget cuts had led to poverty-level stipends as low as $400 a month for ISU’s graduate workers. Inspired by the gains the Duke, Washington University, Brandeis, Tufts, Loyola Chicago and Emory graduate workers have won with SEIU, ISU graduate workers began the process of forming their own union last year and are now ready to take their seat at the table.
This latest win adds to growing momentum for graduate workers—the teaching and research assistants who work for the university while pursuing their doctorates and masters degrees—who have begun uniting their voices across the country. Graduate workers from Tufts University and Brandeis University recently won their first union contracts, which included higher stipends and benefits. Graduate workers at Emory University also won wage increases to $15 per hour.
Read more in The Pantagraph